Stephen Kelly talks about Granada as a company and the type of people it employed

How much a part of your life, you were there for ten years and you left 25 years ago, how big a part of your life has it been.?

Oh, a major part. I had really enjoyable years there. It was a major part. Back in the early eighties when I was there Granada made Brideshead Revisited which was one of the great dramas. And I always remember you would go into reception and there was this big quote that had been reproduced on the wall in reception, it said ‘Granada television is the best TV company in the world’. End quote, New York Times. And it was. You know we were in the best TV company in the world for a number of reasons and you were making wonderful programmes. It was a very paternalistic company but it was also very innovative with programmes like Union World, World in Action, dramas like Brideshead Revisited, Jewel in the Crown, Cracker. They were all wonderful dramas. Money was no expense. They made wonderful and innovative programmes like World In Action, Union World, What the Papers Say.

It was also a very northern company, it was proud of its northern roots and it boasted about them. It was also quite left wing. You knew that everybody you worked with was of the same ilk, of the same thought and the company was not ashamed of it. The company had been formed by Sidney Bernstein who later became Lord Bernstein. Bernstein was a Labour Party supporter throughout his life and he took the Labour Whip when he became a peer. The entre family supported Labour. That was it; it was a Labour company. Just as the Daily Mirror was a Labour newspaper, so Granada was a Labour company.

I remember they hired a woman once who had worked at the Conservative Party Research department. They felt, ought to – I think there might have been some criticisms – so they thought they ought to branch out, so they hired this woman and she didn’t last six months.

Was that because she couldn’t cope with Granada or Granada couldn’t cope with her?

I think a bit of both actually. But you knew that everybody was the same. Everybody was bright. I remember somebody saying to me once about the Labour Party, where are all those bright young people who used to join the Labour Party. Answer, working for Granada Television. And it was true. And after the 1979 General Election Margaret Beckett had lost her seat , Jack Straw, Brian Sedgemore who had all lost their seats came to work for Granada. So Granada was full of extremely bright, extremely bright, creative, left wing people.

Was that across the board?

Across the board. Yes, well I’m talking mainly of production people here rather than technicians or crews. But I think a lot of the technicians and crews were of the left. Not all but that was the reputation it had. And it was. It was great to work there, everybody was of the same age. We just had a great time.

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